EB-5 Investment Report: Immigration Attorney Brings Unique Perspective to his EB-5 Regional Centers

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Recently, Jeff Campion, an immigration attorney who is also the managing director of two regional centers, spoke with EB-5 Investment Report about his dual roles, emerging markets and the biggest challenges facing regional centers.

I think [EB-5] will grow because as instability continues in Latin America…you’ll begin to see even more people come to the States and use EB-5.

As an immigration attorney and managing director of two regional centers--and two awaiting USCIS designation --Jeff Campion is not concerned about having a conflict of interest, although he does admit it can be a dangerous predicament. He explains, “You’re an attorney and you can begin to see how much money you can make by filing the I-526’s….I can make a lot of money there but the reality is that’s a conflict of interest so I don’t.”

Tempting as it maybe, Campion keeps his roles separate and does not act as the consulting immigration attorney for his two regional centers; The Texas Urban Triangle Regional Center and The Gulf States Regional Center.

The flip side is that because he does do a lot of work in EB-5, as a regional center owner, he can look at projects through another set of eyes to evaluate whether or not it will work. He says, “I’m not going to be the one that signs off from an immigration perspective, I’m going to bring in lead counsel to look at it, but at least you’ve got two guys who know what they’re doing in the industry… [who] speak the same language.”

Campion got involved with EB-5 five years ago when one of his Latin American high net-worth clients needed to get out of his country due to political turmoil. Campion was able to get him into an EB-5 project and his client now has his U.S. permanent residency.

Although China continues to be the dominant market for EB-5, Champion sees Latin American countries like Venezuela and Brazil coming into play and thinks it’s a good place to focus. He says, “I think it will grow because as instability continues in Latin America…you’ll begin to see even more people come to the States and use EB-5.”

The biggest challenge Campion sees regional centers facing is knowing what red flags to look out for. He explains that some of the red flags include tenant occupancy, guest expenditures and two-year construction timelines. He acknowledges that those issues are not bad things as long as you have the right responses to them, however, when it comes to his projects, Campion prefers projects that have only indirect construction expenditure jobs. He says those types of projects minimize immigration risk.

Campion explained the difference between immigration risk and business risk, saying a lot of times they get confused. He says, “To me, business risk is: will the hotel actually function, will the developer actually build the building. Immigration risk is: will I get my green card?” By using indirect construction expenditure jobs, a project doesn’t have to function for investors to receive their green card; the developer just has to show that they spent the money. Investors may never get their capital back, but that’s a separate, business risk issue according to Champion. He says most investors care more about getting a green card than they do about getting a return, “So why not just focus on that,” he says. “In a perfect world you’d get both.”

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Dwight Cromie

Bill Friedl
Altek Media Group
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Jeff Campion being interviewed by Aimee Rios